The winner in 2019 is:
“Hyperion” by Gesaffelstein
Proving yet again that even the darkest, most aggressive genres benefit from powerful dynamics, and featuring an all-star lineup including The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams and Haim, Mike Lévy has also worked with Kanye West and Daft Punk.
If anyone tells you EDM “needs” to be super-loud in order to “sound right” or “achieve the artist’s vision”, show them this album – it’s loudness measures ‘only’ -14 LUFS !
(Check out the full shortlist below, including another fantastic, aggressive EDM album by Jon Hopkins, amongst others.)
The Dynamic Range Day Award is given annually to a great-sounding, dynamic album. The aim of the award is to highlight popular releases which sound great and haven’t been “smashed”.
Past winners include multiple Number 1 and award-winning albums, proving that music doesn’t have to be crushed to be popular and successful – even in ‘aggressive’ genres.
The full 2019 shortlist
Jon Hopkins – ‘Singularity’
Motorpsycho – ‘The Crucible’
Omnium Gatherum – ‘The Burning Cold’
Mark Knopfler – ‘Down The Road Wherever’
Gessafelstein – ‘Hyperion’
Olafar Arnalds – ‘Singularity’
Marillion – ‘All One Tonight’
Desecravity – ‘Anathema’
Nils Frahm – ‘All Melody’
To watch the announcement of this year’s winner on the webcast replay, click here.
The 2018 winner was:
J Cole – KOD
Yet another demonstration that even hard-hitting genres don’t need extreme loudness, KOD is breaking streaming records, entering the Billboard chart at Number 1 – proving once again that listeners don’t care about loudness !
The full short-list also included:
Sampha – Process
Lucy Rose – Somethings Changing
Field Music – Open Here
Flying Horseman – Rooms/Ruins
Abi Wade – Beautifully Astray
Hookworms – Microshift
Moonchild – Voyager
U2 – Songs of Experience
Steven Wilson – To The Bone
Watch the live announcement of the winner on the webcast replay, click here.
And showing promise but not quite making the cut:
Foo Fighters – “Run”, the first single from their recent album sounded great – but the album didn’t quite live up to it’s promise. More details & analysis here.
Drake – Consistently releasing great-sounding singles with decent dynamics – for example the massive hit God’s Plan – but several songs on the album just push it too far to be considered for the award, unfortunately.
The winner in 2017 was:
Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
Mastered by the legendary Bob Ludwig, bringing his total to three DRD Award-winning albums over the years, “The Stage” has a peak to loudness ration (PLR) of 12, overall – and it shows.
Listen to Ian’s interview with Bob about the album here.
Other notable contenders this year included FEAR by Marillion, “Windy City” by Alison Krauss and “I See You” by The XX.
The 2016 Winner Was:
James Blake – The Colour In Anything
The full shortlist also included:
Trivium – Silence In The Snow
Plastikman – EX
The Anchoress – Confessions of a Romance Novelist
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
James Blake – The Colour In Anything
Seal – 7
Steven Wilson – 4+1/2
The 2015 winner was…
Steven Wilson for “Hand. Cannot. Erase.”
Steven Wilson has been nominated for the DRD Award for the last three years, and it seemed high time to acknowledge that. And it’s not just his solo albums, Steven is incredibly prolific – he also mixes and produces many other albums and re-issues, and they all sound great.
And it goes without saying he makes great music ! Threat yourself, and take a listen to Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Full 2015 shortlist:
- Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (DR8)
- D’Angelo – Black Messiah (DR8)
- Aphex Twin – Computer Controlled Instruments PT2 EP (DR8)
- Jack White – Lazaretto (DR10)
- Opeth – Pale Communion (DR11)
- Tir Eolas – Stories Sung, Truths Told (DR9)
- Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase. (DR11)
- The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream (DR8)
- Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots (DR10)
- Paulo Nutini – Caustic Love (DR9)
Honourable mentions also go to:
- J. Cole – Forest Hills Drive (DR8)
- U2 – Songs of Innocence (DR9)
- Horrendous – Ecdysis (DR10)
- Imogen Heap – Sparks (DR8)
- Snarky Puppy – We Like It Here (DR9)
- Shellac – Dude Incredible (DR11)
In 2014 the winner was…
(To no-one’s surprise !)
“Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk
We genuinely hope this album will prove to be a watershed moment, a turning-point that we can look back on and say “the end of the war started here”. Only time will tell…
For more discussion about why this album sounds so great, and how dynamics play a key part in that sound (and it’s success) click here.
The winner of the 2013 award was…
“Blunderbuss” by Jack White (DR11)
To read a discussion of why this album made such a worthy winner, please click here.
Steven Wilson’s superb “The Raven that Refused to Sing” came a very close second !
The other nominees last year were:
- My Bloody Valentine – “MBV” (DR11)
- Steven Wilson – “The Raven that Refused to Sing” (DR9)
- Ólafur Arnalds – “For Now I Am Winter” (DR11)
- Mumford & Sons – Babel (DR8)
- Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite – Get Up! (DR9)
- Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Americana (DR8)
- Orbital – Wonky (DR8)
- Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man In The Universe (DR9)
For even more great-sounding dynamic records from 2012, check out this list.
The winner of 2012’s award was Björk for “Biophilia”
(The winner needs to have an overall DR rating of DR8 or more)
The winner of 2011’s award was…
Elbow, for “Build A Rocket, Boys”
Watch a video of Craig Potter – Elbow’s keyboard player, mixer & producer – accepting the award on behalf of the band here.
A truly worthy winner, this album sounds superb and is crammed full of outstanding songs and performances.
Measurements are only ever a guide though, and to re-enforce this point, several tracks are as loud as DR6. In the context of the whole album, these huge moments just emphasise the emotion and power of the music – dynamics used as they were meant to be.
Elbow, we salute you !
To see the announcement, click here
The full list of nominees was:
Laura Marling – “I Speak Because I Can”
LCD Soundsystem – “This Is Happening”
The Coral – “Butterfly House”
Elbow – “Build A Rocket Boys !”
Massive Attack – “Heligoland”
Neil Young – “Le Noise”
Mumford & Sons – “Sigh No More”
Four Tet – “There Is Love In You”
Norah Jones – “…Featuring”